ATHLETICS: Fredericks breaks Christie's record

Frankie Fredericks, of Namibia, became the first man to run 200 metres under 20 seconds indoors last night as he broke Linford Christie's world record at the Lievin International meeting yesterday. He set a world 100m indoor record of 10.5 in Finland on a week ago.

Fredericks recorded 19.92sec to better the mark of 20.25 which Christie set on the same track last year. Fredericks, who will seek to improve upon the 100 and 200m silver medals he won at the 1992 Olympics in Atlanta this summer, is now close to his outdoor best of 20.85. The world outdoor record of 19.72 is the oldest in the record books, set by Pietro Mennea, of Italy, in 1979 at Mexico City.

"First one under 20," said Fredericks, who had jumped up and punched the air upon seeing his time. "It's a great track and it was a great opportunity." The Lievin track has been the site of three men's and one women's 200m world record.

With Christie injured, John Regis represented the British challenge to Fredericks, but he was disqualified.

Venuste Niyongabo, of Burundi, and Maria Mutola, of Mozambique, just missed world indoor records at 2,000m and 800m respectively. Niyongabo won in 4min 54.77sec, less than a second away from Eamonn Coghlan's world mark. Mutola was timed at 1:57.52, outside the 1988 record of 1:56.40 set by Christine Wachtel, of East Germany.

Sergei Bubka, of Ukraine, took the pole vault in 5.95m, after three unsuccessful attempts at raising his own world record to 6.16.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 19

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